Astronauts will go to the moon again at the end of 2025. The Artemis III crew lands at the South Pole, but where exactly? Possibly near Shackleton Crater.
Last year, NASA selected thirteen potential landing zones in Antarctica. “Astronauts are venturing into dark areas never before visited by humans, laying the foundation for longer stays in the future,” NASA’s Mark Kirasic said.
It’s certainly dark, so we can only hope the astronauts won’t be affected nyctophobia. There are places where daylight never comes, like the bottom of Shackleton Crater. Until recently, scientists could not see this soil, but thanks to the advanced ShadowCam camera it has become possible to get a picture of what is happening in the dark. ShadowCam is a NASA-funded instrument aboard the South Korean lunar module Danori. This camera is 200 times more sensitive to light than the camera on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Scientists combined images from LunarCam and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter to create a beautiful mosaic of the Antarctic region. Click on the image below to see more details.
The image has great value as researchers hope to find water in deep, permanently dark holes. Future moon colonists need water. In addition, water ice can be a source of oxygen and can also be used for rocket propulsion. This makes the return trip a little easier.
Will Artemis actually land near Shackleton Crater? That remains to be seen. This depends on the launch time, which varies depending on the relative position of the Earth and the Moon. Therefore, the landing place is chosen only at the last minute. So who knows…
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